Monday, September 10, 2012

A big can of worms

On Saturday morning, while visiting my folks in Manchester, NY, I drove over to the local mini-mart to pick up some eggs, some scratch tickets (a tradition when I'm home), and a big cup of coffee. On my way out of the market, this vending machine caught my eye. Nope, it wasn't dispensing candy bars, cigarettes, or ice-cold Coca-Colas. This machine was vending a very different product: live bait!

My folks live near the Finger Lakes, a series of long, narrow waterways that some say resemble fingers (get it?), so there are lots of fishing enthusiasts in the area. But this was the first bait vending machine I had ever seen. The selections in the machine included Premium Night Crawlers for $3.00, Red Worms for $3.00, and Spike Grubs for $2.75. I didn't need any bait on Saturday morning, but it got me wondering -- how exactly is that bait dispensed? One worm at a time? In tins like sardines? In a pretty gift box?

One summer, as a kid growing up in nearby Victor, I posted a hand-lettered sign out in front of our house: Night Crawlers: 25¢/dozen. Several nights a week, my Dad and I would go out in the backyard with flashlights and try to grab those big, slimy worms before they dove back into their holes. We kept the worms in a big, double-sided stainless steel tub in the garage. And very early in the morning, local fishermen would pull into our driveway and ring our doorbell, looking to buy bait. I remember my Dad's business advice: when you're packing up the night crawlers, always count out loud "One, Two, Three..." and then give them an extra worm. A baker's dozen, if you will. "Always give 'em more than they expect," he said. Still good advice, I think...


  1. Funny. I saw one of these vending machines in Boise and posted it to my FB acct. Since I've rarely fished, I couldn't really blog about finding the machine. Thanks for doing it for me.

  2. Never saw a vending machine for bait when I lived in Michigan. The part of AZ where I live now does not lend itself to fishing.

    My grandfather had a mound of dirt off his back porch that he tended like a compost heap to dig worms for fishing. I had forgotten that. Thanks for the memory

  3. You have all the fun.

    What is the difference between a regular nightcrawler and a premium nightcrawler?

  4. The taste, Julie -- obviously the taste.

  5. I am still thinking how much worms in this can and it will may be in million can you tell me?..worms for fishing



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